Photograph of Peter Pears, the English tenor, from his Security Services file (catalogue reference: KV 2/3844)

28 February 2014

The National Archives has released more than a hundred Security Service files today, including never-seen-before material on the actor Michael Redgrave and the playwright JB Priestley.

This is the 30th Security Service records release and brings the total number of Security Service files in the KV series at The National Archives to 5,138.

Among the papers in this latest release are Personal Files (KV 2) on the actor Michael Redgrave. Redgrave's file also provides interesting new details about Guy Burgess, a member of the Cambridge Five spy ring who defected to the Soviet Union and met Redgrave in Moscow while the actor was playing the part of Hamlet on stage.

Other notable files in this release include:

  • five files on post-war Jewish terrorism activities in the UK, including assassination targets (KV 3/437-441)
  • the remarkable wartime story of the British fascist sympathisers and 'Fifth Columnists' exposed by an MI5 agent posing as a representative of the Gestapo (KV 2/3800)
  • files relating to Russian espionage in the USA and penetration of the Manhattan Project

selection of files from this release has been digitised and will be available to download from our website free for one month.

Professor Christopher Andrew, author of The Defence of the Realm: The Authorized History of MI5, has recorded a podcast about the new files.

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